I HEAR YOU Support Group w/ Cheryl Sargent

6-7pm, monthly the 2nd Wednesday in the KNOWING room.

“Hearing loss”… has been shown to negatively impact nearly every dimension of the human experience: physical, emotional and mental health, perceptions of mental acuity, social skills, family relationships, self-esteem, work and school.”*

This group will be a confidential place to connect with others having the same frustrations, struggles and questions, whether the participant suffers from a hearing loss or is dealing with the hearing loss of others. The purpose is to share experiences, answers and feelings about what we are going through, while making connections that can help us live a more fulfilled life. Creating positive social experiences for the group will be a major goal also, in an effort to help alleviate the social isolation that many experience.  A monthly social event is also a goal for the group.

“Some 48 million Americans have a significant hearing loss. It is the third most prevalent health issue in older adults, after arthritis and heart disease. … Furthermore, an estimated one in five teenagers today experiences (some degree of) hearing loss.”* While those statistics may surprise you, chances are you already interact with someone experiencing hearing loss or, that you yourself may be coping with your own loss of hearing.

Dealing with my own Mother’s hearing loss was so stressful for all of us. She refused to admit what she was experiencing and blamed a world of other factors for not understanding. Bless her, she resisted hearing aids until her 60’s and then was never satisfied with them, never got used to them, and began to neglect even wearing them. Knowing that I was probably the next family “victim” of an inherited hearing loss, I vowed that I would not put off getting hearing aids; I would purchase really “good” ones; I would wear them and I would not make my burden difficult for everyone else. I began to keep close track of my hearing acuity in my early 40’s yet, like the average user of hearing aids, I would wait 10 years after the initial diagnosis before being fitted. (The delay after a recommendation to wear hearing aids is usually between 7 and 10 years.*) It was a journey full of resistance even for me, with all my promises. If getting old isn’t for sissies, then dealing with hearing loss can require a super-human effort for just about everyone involved. Even now I have struggles, and guessing that others go through a lot of the same experiences, I am hopeful that this Support Group will be a helpful resource for us all.”

Facilitator: Cheryl Sargent is a former teacher and experienced member and peer leader of both support and therapy groups. Due to an inherited nerve loss, she is of the latest generation of her maternal family to deal with hearing loss. Her experience has led to the conviction that emotional support and social interaction with understanding parties are necessary to begin to live fully even while experiencing the pain of hearing loss. You may contact her at ckwjs8888@gmail.com.

*Information from the National Hearing Loss Association of America